Wow. This going to be tough. There’s a lot to tell.
Logan was due July 13th, 2006. However, he had other plans entirely. We thought Zander’s entry into the world was a great story….
It was the night of June 1st. I had just finally gotten Zander to sleep after an all-out battle. I was just leaving his room when I felt……let’s just say I felt “something”, so as not to offend anyone who may be reading this fascinating story. I mentioned it to my husband, and we both thought I should call TeleHealth, a free health hotline manned by nurses run by the province of Ontario. So I did, and after playing 20 questions with the nurse at the other end, she decided that it was possible that my water broke, and I should proceed to the nearest hospital.
My heart sank. I was only 34 weeks along as of that day. At the same time, I think I was actually in a bit of denial at that point. I informed my husband, we gathered a few things (including Zander), and were about to leave. As I was about 3 feet from the front door…wooosh….or should I say “gush”! If I wasn’t convinced by the nurse, I was after that!
We drove to the hospital, which is only 10 minutes away. I remember two things very clearly from that car ride. First, I remember looking at Zander and feeling so guilty having woken him up after only 30 minutes of sleep. He looked so tired and confused. Secondly, Carlos had the AC going in the car. My pants were soaked from the waterfall of amniotic fluid. I was FREEZING! I swear my pant legs were frozen solid by the time we got there. I think my pants could have stood up on their own.
When we got to the hospital, I got taken to triage. They hooked me up to the usual fetal heart monitor, etc. Heart rate was strong, and I wasn’t having any contractions, but of course they had to admit me. We were told of all the horrible things we had to prepare ourselves for. I’ve never been so scared in my life. The doctor was worried about infection, so he asked the nurse to start an IV with antibiotics. Carlos took Zander home where my sister-in-law was waiting to watch him, and then he returned to the hospital.
In the meantime, the nurses were busy trying to get an IV into my arm. Not an easy task. You see, I not only have the tiniest veins possible in a grown woman, but they also like to hide far away from the surface of my skin. So when I need to have blood taken, it is a major undertaking. Well, these nurse ended up blowing through the sides of two veins and pumping saline into my flesh, cause these huge fluid-filled bubbles that needed to be pressed on firmly to be drained….which hurt like a son-of-a-bitch! So when Carlos got back he took one look at my arms, which were already a deep shade of purple from the trauma, and had to quickly look away. Did I mention my husband can’t handle the site of anything having to do with needles???
So the doctor opted for oral antibiotics in my case….good choice. I didn’t have any unscathed arm-space left for another attempt anyway!
Shortly after Carlos arrived back at the hospital, I sent him home. I could see how tired and worried he was. And I knew I needed my rest anyway.
Then next morning was full of tests, ultrasounds, specialists, predictions, best case scenarios, worst case scenarios….it made my head spin. I still wasn’t having contractions, and I wasn’t dilated at all. So the doctor told us that it came down to one simple task…keep the baby from being born for as long as possible. Easy for him to say! What should I do, clench???
I was put on what “bed rest with bathroom priviledges”. I’d never thought of going to the bathroom as a priviledge, until then. I even had to wait for approval from the doctor to have a shower!
Day in and day out I was hooked up to machines for endless non-stress tests, had ultrasounds, bloodwork every morning at 7am, antibiotics twice a day, watched the occasional bit of TV, and worried. I worried about all the things that could go wrong. I worried about how I would handle being released from the hospital, but having to leave my baby behind. I worried about my 13-month old Zander being away from his mommy so long…did he even miss me (my mother had come to stay with Zander while Carlos was at work and I was in the hospital)? I worried about my husband, who seemed to have taken the weight of the world on his shoulders. I think he took it the hardest out of all of us.
I didn’t sleep much…too many thoughts going through my mind. In the early morning of the 6th day in the hospital, I woke up feeling hungry. I called my nurse and asked for some toast. I ate my toast while watching an episode of Angel. Who knew Angel was on at 3am? Then I felt a twinge. Not even a cramp…just a twinge. I didn’t really thing anything of it until it kept happening.
I called my nurse back, and she immediately hooked me up. Yup. I was having small contractions. But within an hour they stopped. So off to sleep I went. Later on that morning I was told by the doctor that if they started again we would have to think about transferring me to another hospital. The Queensway Carleton Hospital, where I was, does not deal with babies younger than 37 weeks gestation. So I would need be transferred to the Ottawa Civic or the Ottawa General Hospital.
Just after lunch that day, they started again. It was decided that I would go to the Civic and be induced to get labour going. Since my contractions were on and off, and they knew the kind of labour I had with Zander, they thought it was best at that point if the baby was born under controlled conditions. I was 34 weeks 6 days.
After an exciting ambulance ride on the highway during rush-hour traffice, I arrived at 6pm, and immediately was told I needed an IV for antibiotics, and for the oxitocin. Joy! Due to the previous IV fiasco, the anesthesiologist that specialized in epidurals was called in. Even she had a hard time with it. We both had a good laugh after it was done. My husband was cowering in the corner.
At 8 pm I was given oxitocin. Labour progressed slowly for a while, but then really got going. I was in enough pain to use the gas, but did not want an epidural. Not because of any holier-than-those-who-need-them complex, and not because I thought I was too tough to need it. I have just never like the idea of having a plastic tube inserted in my spine.
Well, my labour stalled at 3cm. My cervix was off to one side, so the baby’s head wasn’t engaged properly. This meant that there wasn’t the normal pressure from the baby’s head on the cervix to help me move along. The nurses and doctor thought that an epidural might make me relax enough the allow my cervix to start behaving. Finally I gave in.
I have never been afraid of the pain or discomfort of the administration of an epidural. I have been poked and prodded enough in my life to take care of that fear. The worst part for me was not being able to move during my contractions. That’s not easy!!!
Once it was done, I was told to lie down. All of a sudden the contractions got so intense. It was the first time I screamed. I had the attention of everyone in the room, I’ll tell ya! The nurse checked. “Oh, it’s time for you to push. The baby’s head is right here!”.
This seemed all too familiar. The pain was unreal. I pushed. Two contractions, four pushes. At 3:07am, my second son was born! This time, he was breathing, so Carlos was able to cut the cord. I have always found it fascinating that he can’t stand to be in the same room as me getting an IV, but had no problems cutting through an umbilical cord. The things you do for your kids!
I asked the nurse, why did the epidural not take any of the pain away. As soon as I had finished speaking, my hips went numb, and it proceeded to numbify all the way down to my feet. AFTER I had the baby! What the….????? How is that fair???? You would think that, if I had to go through with an epidural when I really didn’t want one, it could at least have given me a bit of pain management before I didn’t need it anymore!!!
Considering that fact that Logan was 5 weeks premature, he did remarkably well. His first APGAR score was 9! And he was 5 pounds 6 ounces. Small, but not the teensy tiny baby we were expecting at all.
He only spent a week in the NICU. He had some problems feeding, mostly because he was so weak he couldn’t stay awake to eat. There were a couple of times he had to have an NG tube down his nose to be fed, which broke my heart to see. But he did well, all things considered.
By the time we took him home he was back up to his birth weight. And so began our life with two little boys less than 13 months apart.
Stay tuned for Part Two – The Aftermath